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Watch the Tampa Police Department's award winning video


TAMPA, FLA (July 9, 2019) - The Tampa Police Department received two top awards for its "The Grinch Who Stole Packages" safety message that was shared on social media during the holiday season.   The National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) presented the department with its overall Best-In-Show awardthe organization's top honoralong with a first place prize in the nonpaid Social Media Outreach category.   The winners were announced at the Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards banquet held in Arlington, VA during the NAGC Communications School.

"The competition was very tight, and we spent considerable time selecting this year's best in show," said Chris O'Neil, president of the National Association of Government Communicators. "Ultimately we felt the Tampa Police Department's entry earned this recognition because their entry clearly demonstrated the highly effective delivery of information through creative and engaging outreach that was produced in a very cost effective way and yielded a significant return on investment."


Tasked with creating a fun and informative way of alerting residents to holiday package thefts, now former Tampa Police Spokeswoman Janelle McGregor took to Twitter to find a "Grinch" who would be willing to lend their costume and talent for the good of the public safety message.  LeRoy Vanek saw the post and volunteered for the part along with his dog "Mojo," who played the role of Max in the video. 


"We never thought that a video that started out with a casting call on Twitter would lead to two top-level national awards," said McGregor.

The Grinch Who Stole Packages' social media video reached more than 102,000 viewers across three digital platforms.  The campaign played a significant role in the police department's 27.5% reduction in package thefts in December 2018.


"As a department, we're always looking for creative ways to make our safety messages stick. This video is a great example of an out-of-the-box idea that resulted in the community paying attention and taking steps to protect their holiday deliveries," said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. 


The Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards honors the creative excellence of federal, state and local government communicators.  The awards competition opens at the end of November each year.  Professional communicators are judges from around the country who volunteer their time and talent to team up and judge the categories.  Award winners and Communications School participants are recognized during a special banquet at the annual school.